Why aren’t you working on that?

Richard Hamming was a mathematician who worked at Bell Labs during the 1940s-1970s. He had a habit of sitting down with scientists in other fields and asking them “What are the important problems of your field?” After they explained their field’s most important open problem, he would ask them: why aren’t you working on that?

~ “CFAR!Duncan” from, https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/RafYaSYQ2uLmYgwhk/appendix-hamming-questions


Ouch! I wonder if Hamming got punched in the face a lot? That’s a link to an appendix that doesn’t have an attributed person as the author. But if you can see past all that, it’s a series of eight prompts which really cut through my bullshit. “Why am I not working on that?” …well, actually, I am trying to work on that. Unfortunately, I’m also dividing my efforts in too many other directions simultaneously.

Maybe that’s just me though?